Sunday, April 25, 2010

Remembering Iowa

It is so weathery today.  Sunny, then cloudy and lots and lots of wind.  But it is so warm and beautiful out that I am writing from the back deck. 

I just love turbulent weather.  I have no use for drizzle.  Sunny and cold?  Lame.  I like weather with teeth.  Thunderstorms [sigh].  Even hurricanes.  Although admittedly, I have never witnessed a Cat 5.  That would be cause for evacuation.  I'm not stupid. 

When Hurricane Isabel rolled up the coast I sat outside on the deck, in this same spot, and watched the trees go wild.  It was a wicked show of swaying branches and leaves screaming at the storm.  And I sat here in this calm little pocket of air, utterly awestruck at the natural mayhem happening all around me.  X and I were still together at the time.  He stayed inside.  He thought I was nuts.  Weather scares him.  and bugs.  pussy. 

Anyway, the weatheriness today reminded me of when I was little and how I fell in love with storms.

I lived in Iowa from age 4 to 7 while Dad was in chiropractic school.  We had a huge front porch and when the Spring and Summer storms rolled in my mother would hold me in her lap and we would watch the clouds roil with anticipation.  We watched the wind and lightning and counted for thunderclaps.  It was so exciting.  And that feeling of watching this turbulent danger coming right at us and being wrapped up in this calm, quiet strength.  I have no words for that.  Just a heart swelling feeling.  My mother was my house of bricks.  God in heaven I miss that woman.

But anyway, I was thinking about Iowa and then I remembered school.  I went to a Catholic school for first grade after two years of Montessori.  Catholic school and I had no idea how to relate to each other.

I remember bomb drills.  Since first, second and third grades were located in the basement already, we had to cram into this coat closet area.  We were very squished.  One time, the upper grades came down and put on a rousing performance from the movie that had captured their hearts.  Car Wash.

I got in trouble once for wearing my hair in Princess Leia side buns because the movie that captured my heart at the time was Star Wars.  I saw it 8 times in the theater.  Same with Grease.  Anyway, the nuns made me take down my hair because they said it was distracting.  stupid nuns.

I got in trouble another time for drawing a picture of a living room with white crayon.  On a white piece of paper.  So, you could only see it if you looked at it sideways.  I was very proud of that drawing.  The chair was perfect.  The nuns?  Not as impressed.  They thought I was lying about drawing anything at all and the only thing they were looking at sideways was me.  nuns = stupid.

This other time I got in trouble for bad language.  Every morning after the Pledge of Allegiance we had to sing the "Bosom of Abraham" song.  I forget what it's called.  Anyway, I decided to put my own musical spin on it and start every syllable with the letter D.  It sounded like this: din dthe dos-dom dof dabrah-dam.  The bratty little girl at my table heard the word "damn" and tattled to the teacher that I was cussing.  I tried to explain but they knew I was a rabble rouser.  A bad apple.  stupid girl.  stupid nuns.

They made a paper punch card for me to earn recess.  I got a hole punched when I did my work "properly" or used "good" behavior.  I didn't get recess a lot in first grade.

After school one day I saw some older girls on the front steps belting out Rod Stewart's "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" with their hips swinging all over the place.  I thought that was way worse than dabrah-dam.  I bet they got recess.  stupid school.

I didn't go back after first grade.  I spent the first three weeks of second grade in public school.  With the riff raff.  I don't remember very much about that except one morning when I was walking to school I saw a dead cat in the road.  Apparently it had been walking in the same direction as traffic and got nailed from behind.  It was an orange cat and it had been flattened.  The legs were spread out perpendicular to the body in classic "splat" formation.  Its guts were coming out of its mouth.  Thirty years later I remember that vividly.  It was fascinatingly gross.  And then we moved here to Pleasant Valley.

Anyway, I was thinking about all of this and realized that Thing 2 and his problems in school are startlingly similar to the ones I had. 
Thing 2, age 8
Me, age 8

So I am pretty sure he'll turn out fine.  And he'll always have me as his house of bricks.